Precept IT recommend Mako Guardian to control and monitor employee internet usage.

  • Set limits on the types of websites that can be accessed from your network, including blacklist/whitelist or block all.
  • Research has shown that aimless Internet surfing or ‘cyberslacking’ can account for up to 20 percent of an employee’s working day. Through the Mako Central Management System, administrators have access to Mako Guardian, a powerful set of content filtering controls that can be used to set access privileges by job roles or individual employees.
  • Social media sites, for example, can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, but during the business day these outlets can consume an inordinate amount of time and attention. Moreover, social media sites are known to harbor security threats like malware and viruses.
  • Restricting access to only employees in the marketing department, for example, would permit these users to accomplish a core element of their job function without opening the floodgates to all employees. Administrators can choose to restrict access to sites by category, type or specific URL, or even set safe periods when access is permitted, like during lunch hours or after closing.
  • Mako’s reports give administrators the ability to see what websites are visited, when, for how long, and by whom.

 

Employers’  Duty of care

Cyber bullying in the workplace… the employer’s responsibility?

Many people simply assume that bullying is an unpleasant experience reserved for the playground. Unfortunately though, this is not the case. Recent reports have found that there are no age-limits or physical confines that exempt you from becoming a victim. The problem is that the older you get the more resilient your expected to be, so often a message that someone finds hilarious can be highly offensive to someone else depending on a number of facets such as gender, race, religion, class and so on. The fact is that it stands with the employer to ensure that there is an acceptable usage policy drawn out and understood by all employees. More importantly though, to avoid any legal and potentially costly ramifications… such a policy must be adhered to and this requires monitoring!

What constitutes as cyber-bulling?

The website Safe Workers has noted an array of different examples of bullying at work using electronic means as can be seen below.

• Offensive e-mail – sending offensive e-mail to a colleague even if it’s supposed to be a joke in which a person might be offended by the content of the message or any photographs which are attached to it and continuing to do send similar messages having been asked to stop

• E-mail threats – this can also include relatively inoffensive messages in terms of content but the implied meaning behind the message can constitute a form of bullying. An example of this might be where a superior is bombarding you with far more work than you can handle whilst other members of the team are not being treated in the same way

• Posting blogs and comments left on social networking sites – quite often a person may not experience any direct form of cyber bullying but instead the bullies are leaving nasty or offensive comments about them on blogs and social networking sites which can often be viewed by others. This intimidation would also fall under the umbrella of cyber bullying

• Spreading Lies And Malicious Gossip – social networking sites and blogs are usually the most common ways in which people become victim of another person’s cyber bullying.

• Cyber Bullying Harassment – electronic cyber bullying, or ‘e-bullying’ as it is often referred to, can also result in instances where the person may not even intend to harm you. For example, you may experience an admirer at work who would like to establish a closer friendship or relationship with you and they’ll sometimes use e-mail to ‘test the waters’ first as the fear of rejection is often far less if an approach is made that way. However, people have been rightfully prosecuted for harassment where persistent e-mails follow, especially if they have been rejected. This has even led to cases of stalking outside work

• Sharing A Person’s Private Data Online – cyber bullying can take on a much more sinister meaning when people post up personal details about you which are available to the general public and which you wouldn’t normally want to share with complete strangers. This can include leaving home addresses and phone numbers for all to see

Employers ‘duty of care’

According to safeworkers, In the context of work, duty of care is legally binding on an employer. Put simply, an employer must abide by what the law refers to as a standard of reasonable care in relation to employees. Failure to do so can result in claims of negligence if an issue arises, so don’t get caught out!

In relation to the internet and email, an employer should be able to exert some level of control over his employees web usage to minimise the risks of offensive content reaching his employees inboxes. This is easily achieved by employing the use of sophisticated content filtering and spam filtering services that allow employers to monitor the type of mail and content that their employees receive, so they can block emails containing particular words and phrases or mail from unreliable sources that may be spam or a virus that can cause damage to their computer system.

Employer’s … protect your employees but don’t forget to protect yourself!

With regard to monitoring employee’s web browsing habits and to ensure as an employer you have noted your ‘duty of care’ legalities you can employ the use of a web security service which automatically shows your commitment to your duty of care responsibility.

Such a service allows you to monitor and restrict which sites your employees visit or how long they spend on certain sites. This not only protects your employees and you from your legal obligations but it also means that rather than procrastinating on social media sites during work-time your employees will be much more productive!

On top of this, some web filtering services also supply a url filtering feature which protects your computers from viruses and malware which lurk on certain unprotected sites which employees may inadvertently click on, and which may result in significant costs for you if your computer systems become infected or you lose valuable or personal data.

The problem is that much of the problems that arise from internet usage in the workplace…. viruses, spam, phishing, cyber-bulling and legal battles … are often created at the hands of an innocent comment, risqué joke or inquisitive click but unfortunately this doesn’t make them any less harmful. So don’t risk it… get protected!

In an article by Info Security, Eleanor Dallaway discusses the issue of Cyber Bullying with managing director of CQR consulting, David Simpson.

“Cyber-bullying is just a real-time, modern way of delivering abuse”, says David Simpson, managing director of CQR Consulting, who are responsible for Disconnect, an anti-cyber-bullying campaign. “Cyber-bullies use anonymity as a weapon, without fear of retribution or punishment. HR departments are struggling to deal with it”, he explains.

Beyond the obvious emotional and psychological repercussions that cyber-bullying causes, it is also a risk to company reputation, Simpson points out. “If unprofessional behaviour and exchanges are leaked outside of the company, competitive firms use it as industrious espionage – they see cyber-bullying as a tool to damage their rival firm’s credibility.”

Cyber bullying or an innocent joke?

It has to be remembered that what one person finds offensive was genuinely not perceived as such by the sender but it’s these simply misunderstandings that can lead to bigger things if not dealt with appropriately at the time! Keeping workplace morale at a high and allowing time for team bonding activities can often help garner that understanding between colleagues that is much more difficult to understand through emails. The thing with emails is that you lose the tonalities of speech that are so important in conveying meaning. So whilst a sarcastic or jokey comment is easily deciphered from an intentionally nasty one when the conversation is oral, when the words are simply printed on a page and received by the recipient these tones are removed and its often left with the receiver to convey their own opinion as to how the message was meant which as you’d expect can often lead to a misinterpretation.